Luciano Monosilio, chef of Pipero al Rex in Rome is known for his creative and sometimes surprising cuisine. He is also known for his spaghetti carbonara which is considered to be one of the best if not the best you can get in Rome.
When he visited Belgium in July for Flemish Food Bash he prepared his signature dish which he serves at his Michelin star restaurant. I asked him why a Michelin starred chef would serve such a dish. He replied that “It is the only traditional dish that I have on the menu and in time, it has become famous to the extent that many now say that it is the best carbonara you can find in Rome.”
I am slightly disappointed as he has finished serving it and I have not tasted it. And I become even more disappointed when the chef of Ristorante All’Oro Riccardo Di Giancinto also from Rome, tells me the best dish he has ever eaten was Monosilio’s carbonara. Alas, I will have to wait for my next trip to Rome.
Pipero al Rex is a special restaurant in Rome named not after a chef (as is common sometimes) but rather for Alessandro Pipero, the front of house. It can be found just of the lobby of the Hotel Rex Rome near the Stazione Termini and has just 16 covers.
Luciano tells me Italian cuisine is passing through a good patch at the moment. “There is a good movement and chefs are working together to try and create something.
I ask him provocatively if Italian cuisine is less into modern technique than other cuisines and he tells me that technique is not just linked to what is necessarily in vogue at the moment like foams. “For example, we have been cooking at low temperatures for thousands of years, that is also technique.” It is not something that has been discovered today.
Luciano thinks that food and cooking could be in a bubble. “Cooking and restaurants are fashionable today. Let’s see until when this will last. It is not a problem because those working today where also here before it became fashionable and will still be there after it goes out of fashion.”
“In my view, in two or three years time the fashion will be over. There are too many events and too much focus on food. Of course, the most important restaurants will still be there. They were there before and they will still be there in future,” he says.
Luciano does not hide behind the fact that he hopes to achieve a second Michelin star in future. “My aim and my hope is to get a second star and we will continue to work hard to achieve this goal.” He is aware of the importance and influence of guides and bloggers in today’s world. He tells Food and Wine Gazette you need to be able to accept the fact that you are being judged. “You have to accept the good reviews but also the bad reviews.”
How would he describe his cuisine? “I call my cuisine a creative cuisine. It is my cuisine and it is very personal. There are some dishes which come from the territory we are in, while others not. It is a bit of contaminated cuisine. It is a cuisine which uses produce from the territory of Lazio with influences from Asia,” he says.
He is influenced by Asian cuisine which he tells me is his favourite cuisine because of its technique. “There is a lot of technique involved and a lot of manual work which makes it very interesting.”
Monosilio says traveling is fundamental when it comes to finding inspiration. But it is not just the travelling what what you do when you are travelling. “For me inspiration comes from tasting, seeing, trying and travelling.
And what is best ever dish he has prepared? “It is seppie e pizelli (cuttlefish and peas)”
Here is the method he uses to make the legendary spaghetti carbonara